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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 2824 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #150 on: February 04, 2009, 01:14:51 pm »

[paragraph continues] Catalonia, where, as we have just seen, the innocence of the order was fully recognized. His evidence was full of absurdity. He said the cat had not appeared for a long time in the chapters but that the ancient statutes of Damietta said that it used to appear and be worshipped.

In Cyprus 110 witnesses were examined; 75 belonged to the order and maintained its innocence; the testimony of the remainder was also in favour of it.

We thus find that, in every place beyond the sphere of the influence of the king of France and his creature the pope, the innocence of the order was maintained and acknowledged.; and undoubtedly the same would have been the case in France if the proceedings against it had been regulated by justice and the love of truth.

The time appointed for the meeting of the general council was now arrived. On the 1st October, 1311, the pope came to Vienne, which is a short distance from the city of Lyons, and found there 114 bishops, besides several other prelates, already assembled. On the 13th, the anniversary of the arrest of the Templars four years before, the council commenced its sittings in the cathedral. The pope, in his opening speech, stated the grounds of its having been convoked, namely, the process against the Templars, the support of the Holy Land, the reformation of the Church. The bishops of Soissons, Mende, Leon, and Aquila, who had been appointed to draw up a report of the result of the different examinations respecting the order, read it before the assembled fathers, who then once more invited any Templars who wished to defend the order to appear.

Though the order was now broken up and persecuted, and numbers of its ablest members deal or languishing in dungeons with their superiors, yet

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nine knights had the courage to come forward in defence of their order, and present themselves before the council as the representatives of from 1500 to 2000 Templars, who were still dwelling or rather lurking in Lyons and its vicinity. The pope was not present when they appeared, but his letter of the 11th November shows how he acted when he heard that defenders of the order had presented themselves. Clement had these brave knights arrested and thrown into prison, and, in real or affected terror at the number of Templars at large, he took additional precautions for the security of his person, and counselled the king to do the same.

To the honour of the assembled fathers, they refused to sanction this flagrant act of injustice. The prelates of Spain, Germany, Denmark, England, Ireland, and Scotland, without exception; the Italians, all but one; the French, with the exception of the archbishops of Rheims, Sens, and Rouen, declared, but in vain, for admitting the Templars and hearing their defence. Instead of complying with this demand of justice and humanity, Clement suddenly put an end to the session. The winter passed away in arguments and negociations.

Philip, whose practice it was always to look after his affairs himself, deeming his presence necessary at Vienne, set out for that place, where he arrived early in February, accompanied by his three sons, his brother, and several nobles and men-at-arms. The effect of his presence was soon perceptible; the pope assembled the cardinals and several other prelates in a secret consistory, and abolished the order, by his sole authority, on the 22nd March, 1313.

The second session of the council was opened on the 3rd April, with great solemnity; the king of France, his sons, and his brother, gave their presence at it, and the royal guards appeared for honour,

p. 323

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